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Fund the generations of tomorrow, today

Fund the generations of tomorrow, today


Just as this government wants to radically change the education system, so, too, must it consider a major restructuring of the way health services are provided, particularly those by District Health Boards.

The nurses’ working conditions and demands for increased pay are the latest tangible evidence that things are broken in our hospitals. DHBs’ capacity to employ more nurses at a satisfactory rate of remuneration has become increasingly difficult following years of underfunding of the public health service.

Growing incidences of chronic diseases such as cancer, tumours, orthopaedic diseases, increasing geriatric population and excessive hospitalisations requires greater efforts from DHBs to increase productivity to meet health targets.

As a result, nurses are held back by traditional pay scales, subjected to increased workloads, greater levels of fatigue and stress, higher staff turnover and amplified patient acuity, and an unhealthy rostering system.

Something’s gotta give.

Health Minister Dr David Clark has very recently and publicly ruled out the use of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the health system. This was in response to calls by private surgical hospitals that government partner with them formally to parcel out surgical cases on a planned rather than ad hoc basis, as happens now.

So, if the PPPs proposal is off the table, there are really only two remaining options.

One is that DHBs continue to struggle with existing resources, patients continue to suffer long waiting times and medical staff, including hard-working nurses, continue to put up with very tough working conditions.

The other option is that DHBs work with private providers like SEQURE Health who can ‘in-source’ specialist medical staff, including nurses, to relieve the pressures on DHBs, patients and hospital staff.

This model of care is used overseas in the UK and Brazil and has been proven effective.

The formula is simple. Private providers actively source and provide to DHBs under contract trained, specialised and experienced nursing, clinical and surgical staff who can work onsite at hospitals using the hospital’s own facilities to boost hospital capacity. In-sourcing can help hospitals shape timeframes, resources, and rosters to deliver the services outside of core hours.

Consequently, this leaves DHBs with more money to support staff in meeting other targets, while simultaneously, generating more time to invest in staff welfare. Reorganising the health service will not only restore the public’s faith in DHBs’ ability to deliver quality care but also ensures one of the country’s hardest working professions are well-resourced to meet hospitals’ ever-growing health targets.

ends

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